Cold weather can be fatal for homeless people but there are practical steps you can take, such as volunteering or using an app to alert professionals
As the nights lengthen and temperatures nosedive, staying indoors becomes more tempting. But for homeless people there is no such luxury, and while sleeping rough is never an enjoyable prospect, it becomes even more dangerous – and often fatal – in the winter months.
Homelessness rates have risen dramatically, with rough sleeping doubling since 2010 and increasing by 30% in the last year, leaving huge numbers of people at risk.
Call for help
If you feel immediately concerned for the safety of an individual, what are your options? If you’ve seen someone sleeping rough regularly and are concerned for their welfare, you can contact homeless outreach workers directly. “A first port of call is StreetLink, a safe and confidential way to alert specialist homelessness outreach teams if you see someone sleeping rough,” says Downie.